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Any suggestions for good clam chowder and seafood eats in Pismo Beach ,ca?

I'm heading there tomorrow, much appreciation and thanks for all advice given.
Price range any and all , Thanks fellow chowhounds!

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  1. i must be a party of one because I never see anyone else make this recommmendation, but we are totally hooked on the Phithy Phil ribs at Mo's on the main drag of Pismo Beach that heads down to the pier. I know you asked for fish, but "Mo knows BBQ but he don't know fish and he don't know chowda" (his famous line painted on the walls of his BBQ place.

    Other menu items may not reach BBQ perfection like the Philthy Phil ribs, but if this is what you might want to try I hope you too enjoy this place as much as we have.

    1 Reply
    1. re: glbtrtr

      Thanks glbtrtr for the BBQ tip at Mo's! If we go for ribs as our meal, i'll be sure to give my thoughts!

    2. Among the best are Splash Cafe, Brad's and a very nice version at Rosa's. All have won awards, so take a pick.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bruce in SLO

        Bruce, thank you for the prompt response to my inquiries Very nice
        That both have won awards for their chowder.
        Will let you know what the outcome of my tastings are.

        1. re: foodiecurious

          Splash Cafe has good chowder! The Crab Claw in downtown Pismo has really good fish tacos and key lime pie. If you want a formal venue, both Mirasol@ The Cliffs Resort and Lido @ Dolphin Bay in Shell Beach are fantastic, both with oceanviews! :)

          Cliffs Resort
          2757 Shell Beach Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

        2. re: Bruce in SLO

          Splash Cafe also has a location in SLO and their bakery goods are excellent.
          You can also get Splash Cafe frozen clam chowder to go at the Costco in SLO.

        3. Years ago, a friend and I made the trip up the coast and had a bowl of clam chowder at both Brad's and Splash (they're right next to each other, so it's not hard to do.) I recall that Splash was by far the more flavorful chowder. Why don't you do your own taste test and report back here? I'd love to hear someone else's opinion on this.

          Mr Taster

          N.B. Years later I tried the chowder at Kelly's in Revere Beach, Massachusetts and it's ruined me for both Brad's and Splash. Kelly's thickens their chowder with cream, not with flour, so it is a much lighter, brothier, more silky texture than the flour thickened stuff you find virtually everywhere else.

          1. Hello Everyone, Thanks for the tips on Brads and Splash's clam chowder.
            We've tried both and I do admit that Splash's chowder is much thicker, if you like that and has a butter garlic flavor component in it. Which makes it a bit richer and more flavorful.
            All in all, it was great to try both places and compare. IMO, I'm still looking for that perfect bowl of clam chowder. I know its out there. Btw: my wife loved Splash's chowder and brought home a frozen quart. Lol!

            3 Replies
            1. re: foodiecurious

              Was just up in Pismo Beach myself this weekend and noticed there is always a line around the block waiting to get into Splash. Meanwhile, I had my delicious Mo's Philthy Phil ribs up the street with no waiting ....... and was happy as clam. Ya see .......".Mo's don't know chowda".

              1. re: foodiecurious

                Thanks so much for reporting back. It's always great to hear about whether or not our advice still holds up!

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  Splash Cafe has it down to a science.
                  Even the bread bowl is perfectly cut with the top insert served on the side is toasted in butter.

              2. About 20 or so miles south of Pismo is Santa Maria where the Jetty is located. Best tasting clam chowder by far. Very thick and loads of clams. Tuesday is all-you-can-eat crab legs for $19.95.

                1. Your all correct about Splash, they're consistent on what they serve. Have their method down to a science with the lines and the bread. It's a well run establishment. I will explore again when we head back down to visit the central coast. Love the nice family run places and the wonders fo the central coast. Thanks again for all the helpful tips!

                  1. While I have this part of the coast on the brain, I'll add a counterpoint to the positive comments about the clam chowder at Splash Cafe. I had a chance to try it in December on my way down to LA. I'd read the descriptions in many threads here as well as the cafe's own website that says that the chowder is made from scratch every day and that three different kinds of clams are sourced.

                    Reading all that led to much anticipation in ordering a cup here. When I was asked if I wanted the extra seafood topping and declined, the countergal strongly encouraged me to change my mind saying it was much better with the topping. That broad hint is one that I should have interpreted as a sign to turn around and leave.

                    I hated this chowder. Thick, mucoid, and gloppy enough to stand up a spoon and amped up with fake buttery flavorant and dried garlic. After a few spoonfuls of slimy chowder and deciding that I did not like the overcooked, fishy taste, I stood over a trash can and sifted through the chowder to see if I could find any clams. Two small, rubbery bits . . . now it's understandable why one needs to pay the upcharge to get any seafood. From the texture of the celery and potatoes, it was clear that this was not made from fresh ingredients.

                    Courtesy of this old post, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4241... , here is the ingredient list from the Costco packaging:
                    Cream, Clam Chowder (Potatoes, Clams, Water, Margarine, Pollock Fish, Modified Food Starch, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Spice, Enriched Flour, Salt, Yeast Extract, Natural and Artifical Flavors, Parsley, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate), Milk, Clams (Clams, Clam Juice, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Calcium Disodium EDTA).

                    The list of materials in parentheses for the second ingredient "Clam Chowder" includes standard processed food ingredients for chowder base. So it would seem that Splash takes canned or frozen base and then adds extra clams. I do agree that this chowder is more intense in flavor than many other also terrible versions of clam chowder, maybe it does not dilute the chowder base as much as others.

                    Yes, I understand that this chowder wins awards. I have tasted the award winners from contests in Monterey and Santa Cruz, and Splash's chowder is better. That said, I do not care to taste any of them again.

                    In February Bodega Bay on the Sonoma Coast hosts an annual chowder contest. This year there were 13 entries and I'd say that at least nine of these would handily beat Splash Cafe's chowder.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Splash Cafe's (most local seafood cafes') chowder is made for the tourists from Fresno who are not used to fresh fish or seafood. PB has long ago ceased to be a source for commercial fresh clams. So the clams at least are guaranteed to be canned.

                      :-) This has made me hungry for chowder! 36 degrees last night--good chowder weather!

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        Hey, hey, let's not insult tourists or Fresno. :) I'd say that many or most Central Coast residents are not accustomed to fresh fish or seafood either given the paucity of availability at markets and eating places and/or the high prices that put such delicacies out of budget range for too many. It is possible to make a tasty chowder from canned or frozen clams, but the other ingredients need to be fresh and not from a can. My brother-in-law recently sent us some of his homemade chowder made with Costco's frozen clams that was wonderful.

                        I hope some local investigative reporter looks into this. Splash Cafe's website makes a claim for freshness and scratch cooking that does not play out in the taste of its chowder nor in that ingredient list.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Correction: I think the frozen clams were actually Vince's from Berkeley Bowl -- in the freezer case across from the fresh fish counter. The recipe on the container is "junk", but the chopped clams were excellent. DH actually had to go get additional claim juice (not Snow's, but Prince Edward?? I can't recall at the moment & will ask him about this later.

                    2. We sure loved the clam chowder on that old-style restaurant in Morro Bay that is up the hill in the first few blocks from the shorefront.

                      Glad to get this report since we always go to Mo's BBQ when in PB and see the lines around the block waiting to get into Splash, we have always wondered what we were missing out on not having clam chowder in Pismo Beach.

                      After all as Mo's says ....... he don't know chowda, and apparently neither does Splash. Wonerful description Melanie of what goes wrong all to often with offerings of "famous" clam chowders.

                      We see this too in Santa Barbara - can't find a decent cup anywhere particularly at the "seafood" restaurants. Though more and more good reports now coming in for SeaGrass for seafood, but not sure they would put clam chowder on their more refined and adventuresome menu.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: glbtrtr

                        I just tried to find the date for Bodega Bay Chowder Day 2012 and it will be Saturday, January 26.

                        A great time to visit the Sonoma Coast . . . less fog and wind than in summer. And I'll correct my earlier post, there were 15 contestants last year, and some of them had more than one chowder entered. Trying a 2 oz sample from each, the lucky 900 participants could have tasted more than a quart of top notch chowder for only $5. I did encourage the organizers to consider upping the price and raising more money for charity.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          2013 - right? That does sound like a good time

                          1. re: Bean Counter

                            Duh, thank you for the correction, yes, January 26, 2013.

                      2. delish homemade clam chowder awesome steamed clams, and great service, our server was on top of it.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: dillah

                          To what restaurant are you referring?

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            Oh that was Steamers that had great clam everything. We tried Marisol twice and everything there was a complete catastrophe.

                            1. re: dillah

                              Wow - just looked them up and they look fun!

                              And I love that they have a happy hour special that includes clams : )